Spring is here and we have many people getting into weight lifting for many different reasons. Selecting the right exercise is very important if you want to reach a specific goal. Because of this the weight lifting industry has advanced and created many new exercises. It may be 2016, but we still have many great exercises that have horrible names attached to them. Some so bad they even take a great exercise and create bad form just from the name alone. When this happens how are people supposed to exercise correctly? Many people don’t have or use good form as it is, never mind when they are going by a title of an exercise that creates bad habits. Luckily for you, I will go through some of the more common “mis-named” exercise and explain the "whys" and how to do them correctly.
1) Chest Supported Rows- Whenever I give this to a client (and I do it all the time ‘cause it’s a GREAT exercise with a HORRIBLE name!), I always correct the name to call it instead: “ribcage supported row”. I know, a lot less “sexy” of a name, but it would actually get people to get into better position. Here is why chest supported row gets people into bad posture. If they assume the position of the name then they are really laying on their chest and starting the exercise in an anteriorly positioned(hunched over/forward leaning/chest slouched) posture. This is bad for the body (and is not so comfy for females I might add). The whole goal of any(most) exercise, especially an upper back exercise, is to create and favor good posture(shoulders back/chest tall). When done correctly, this exercise increases strength in upper back(lats and rhomboids) to keep you in better anatomical postural position.
Lying on my "chest", wait isn't that what I'm supposed to do? After all it's called a chest supported row! This exercise thing is soo confusing!
2) Chin-Ups- I’m not going to lie and say I thought of a better name all by myself. But us trainers are all “borrowers” of different ideas and names at times. Again, this is another GREAT exercise usually done with bad form just ‘cause of the name given to it. This back exercise is designed to create better posture but can actually create worse posture if done incorrectly. Please do not follow the name of the exercise. A chin up would make one believe they have to get their chin up or above the bar or extend the neck just to get their chin up higher. This will put a lot of tension on your neck while under lots of pressure (bodyweight load) and usually leave you with a pain in the neck (see what I did there?). As I try to cue most exercises to keep head and chin neutral, thinking about my name for this exercise would probably get you back in the right position. A better name or cue would be to call these “chest ups” instead of “chin ups”. This will keep you in better posture during the exercise and will keep your neck out of the exercise.